Thursday, March 24, 2011

Facebook is my friend

Despite a few head-scratching moments (more on that later), FB is still working out well for my class. I'm using it mostly for informal writings (I post a prompt and they respond by commenting on it) but students have been checking and chiming in fairly regularly even when there's no assignment posted.

To address my concern about the lack of discussion opportunities in the computer lab, I came up with two group activities for this past week -- one for Monday and one for Wednesday, when we're in a regular classroom. Both went well and helped students get to know each other better. After working together, each group shared two or three highlights of their work -- both on the board and in discussion. On a whim, I asked each group's reporter to also post a full summary of their work on FB. So far, I'm really happy with the results. We all now have a written record of what transpired during group time, which is great since each group worked on a different aspect of the text. This can also be especially useful for anyone who was absent that day or wants to review what they did but didn't take notes. It also gave me a chance to correct any misconceptions that didn't come up in class. I posted a question to one comment and the student raised the issue in class to clarify.

The head-scratcher is trying to find a way to send a message to just one student without having to "friend" him. I know they can send private messages to me (maybe because I'm the group's administrator?) and I can respond privately but I can't seem to initiate a private message, which is weird. It's not a huge deal, just an inconvenience.

As I sit here reading their first set of essays, I'm feeling as if all this online writing prep has already paid off. I'm only halfway through the stack but these drafts are so far much stronger than their Diagnostics, I think in part because they're elaborating on ideas they've already spent time thinking and writing about. Let's hope the trend continues as I read the rest of their essays...


  1. I feel the same way about the lack of discussion opportunities in the computer lab. We're in the lab for two hours every Tuesday (which is, of course, most of our allotted time), so I've been trying to begin the lab with some discussion. It's tough in my lab (aka "The Warehouse"). For the head-scratcher: try clicking the picture of the student when you're on your group page in Facebook. This will take you to their home page. You probably won't be able to see much--they've no doubt upped their privacy settings (yeah!). Now find the box that reads "send message." OK. Sorry. That's not going to work all the time. I just saw that one of the privacy settings is not allowing messages by non-friends. Hmm.

  2. I have a similar problem...I'm not able to invite any students to my group unless they are my "friends"

  3. Make it an "open" group until all students have joined.